Landrieu blasts Salazar, White House over drilling moratorium

I know, I know — the White House claims they don’t have any drilling moratorium in place.  They claim that they want to increase domestic oil production.  As Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) explains to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, their actions don’t match their rhetoric.  After Salazar insisted that the administration has been processing permits and Sen. Al Franken claimed that Exxon profits show that oil companies are doing well, Landrieu blasts both while setting the record straight in hearings yesterday:

I want to say that, despite the Administration’s arguments that are laid out, that you all are all guns blaring and green lights for drilling, the facts that I checked, and if you disagree tell me, only 21 permits for offshore drilling have been issued by this date. In 2010 there were 32 permits. I just left the annual conference of LOGA, which is Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Mr. Secretary, yesterday. They are beside themselves with not being able to get their permits processed and to answer you, Mr. Franken, let me just say Exxon and Shell may be making record profits but according to a study recently done by the Greater New Orleans, Inc., 41% of our oil and gas independent operators and service companies, I’m not talking about Exxon and Shell that have operations all over the world, I’m talking about companies in the Gulf Coast, in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Let me tell you what the studies show about their profits: 41% of them are not making a profit at all, 70% have lost significant cash reserves, 46 have moved operations away from the Gulf, and 82% of business owners have lost personal savings as a result of this slow down.

When Salazar tried to claim that the Obama administration has expanded drilling zones, Landrieu lost patience with her former colleague:

Secretary Of The Interior Ken Salazar: Here, Here’s, Mary, Senator Landrieu, the fact of the matter is, that there are tens, and I think it’s, maybe it’s, it is, it is over f – thirty, forty million acres that we just did in the one lease sale, there’s more that will be leased. The lease sale that I did in New Orleans in December, I think was 38 million acres, about 2 million acres of it was leased. So when you make available in one lease sale tens of millions of acres and you have some of it that’s bid on, the companies that are going to where they know the oil and gas is. So the fact is we are moving forward with a very robust OSC leasing program.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA):  We are never going to get, in my view Mr. Chairman, we’re never going to get clear as long as we continue to talk around and throw statistics out that try to make both sides look good. I’m not trying to make you look any worse, I’m just trying to get the facts out to the public. When you speak you get people thinking that we’re drilling everywhere, onshore and offshore, and the facts are not – don’t justify that. You know that 98% of our offshore is limited to drilling, we can’t even explore there. We’re talking about what we’re drilling within that 2%.

Michael Ramirez gives his perspective on  White House rhetoric on energy policy in his latest editorial cartoon for Investors Business Daily.  So far, Obama’s energy policy consists of beaming a lot of sunshine, but not a lot of reality:

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

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